Blue Jays notebook: Plenty riding on Donaldson rehab outing

MLB insider Jonah Keri joins the Jeff Blair Show with Ashley Docking and Adam Wylde to discuss why he would definitely send a qualifying offer to Josh Donaldson.

BALTIMORE – Josh Donaldson is slated to begin a rehab assignment at single-A Dunedin on Tuesday, the first step in what would need to be a rapid series of events to open the possibility of a trade for the Toronto Blue Jays.

Players need 48 hours to clear once they are placed on August’s revocable waivers, creating a Wednesday deadline to push players through and get them out ahead of the Sept. 1 cut-off for post-season eligibility.

But Donaldson must first show that he’s healthy enough to play before he can be put on waivers, which is why there’s so much riding on his rehab outing. If a team puts in a claim on him, the Blue Jays can work out a deal with that club or pull him back from waivers.

Ben Nicholson-Smith is Sportsnet’s baseball editor. Arden Zwelling is a senior writer. Together, they bring you the most in-depth Blue Jays podcast in the league, covering off all the latest news with opinion and analysis, as well as interviews with other insiders and team members.

In theory, Donaldson could also be traded in September to a contender needing a boost to get into the playoffs, but he wouldn’t be eligible for the post-season under such a scenario. The Blue Jays, for example, picked up Darwin Barney in September 2015 to help cover after Troy Tulowitzki was injured.

Donaldson has been out since leaving a May 28 game at Boston with a left calf strain and the star third baseman reinjured himself during a previous rehab assignment in June.

Realistically, given the truncated time frame, the Blue Jays will likely need to share the risk with an acquiring team by either eating some or all of what’s left on Donaldson’s $23 million salary or perhaps taking a conditional return to get some sort of value back in return.

At the same time, the potential of a month-plus of performance at or near Donaldson’s career levels would be of immense value for any contending club.

ARMS IN: The Blue Jays recalled righty Danny Barnes and selected the contract of swingman Murphy Smith from triple-A Buffalo to bolster their beleaguered relief corps.

Barnes was sent down earlier this month after returning from the disabled list. Smith, 31, is up in the big-leagues for the first time after logging 1,016.2 innings in the minors over 10 seasons.

Right-hander Justin Shafer was optioned to clear one roster spot while moves to open space on both the 25-man and 40-man rosters for Smith were pending.

“We need two arms,” said manager John Gibbons. “The bullpen is banged up. We used a lot of those guys on Saturday and some of those same guys yesterday.”

UPDATE: The Blue Jays have since optioned Jake Petricka to triple-A Buffalo while designating pitcher Luis Santos for assignment.

SHORT HOPS: Follow-up imaging on infielder Brandon Drury’s fractured left hand showed good progress in his healing and he’s slated to have a follow-up CT scan in Toronto next week. … Marcus Stroman (blister) resumed playing catch Sunday and threw the ball without issue. … Yangervis Solarte (oblique) has started hitting and throwing progressions.

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